New York Knicks: 2019 NBA Draft targets worth trading into first round for

Kentucky Tyler Herro (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Kentucky Tyler Herro (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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USC Kevin Porter Jr. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Age: 18
Height, Weight: 6-foot-6, 218 pounds
Slash Line: .471/.412/.522
Season Averages: 9.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 1.3 3PM

Six months ago, Kevin Porter Jr. was a likely lottery pick with the potential to land in the top 10. He balled out for USC’s first five games, averaging 14.0 points on 53.8 percent shooting and 35.0 percent on three-pointers.

Per J. Brady McCollough of The Los Angeles Times, NBA scouts called Porter “good enough to be the second-best player in the draft behind Zion Williamson.” Yes, that Zion Williamson, who captivated college basketball.

So why is Porter someone for the New York Knicks to trade into the end of the first round for?

After that five-game stretch, Porter had just 8.7 points on 43.8 percent shooting in 15 games, starting just one of them. That does not include the four-minute appearance where he suffered an injury, which impacted his freshman year. Off-court issues, featuring a suspension, torpedoed his stock, too.

Porter is talented enough to land in the first round — maybe just outside the lottery. Players always slide lower than expected in the NBA Draft, however, due to injury or personal circumstances, but it only requires one team to take a chance.

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The Porter pick might raise an eyebrow, but the Knicks can and need to gamble on someone if it means building this roster into a long-term winner. This player at least fills out the backcourt and is able to play off whoever the point guard is, with the potential to average double figures as a starter or off the bench. Someone will take him, but New York can use him if available between 20-to-30.